Posts Tagged busy

Busy is a Four-Letter Word

Luke 5: 16

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

Jesus set a priority on spending time to pray and fellowship with his father. I wonder, though, how he had time to slip away to the mountains or the wilderness for fellowship time. Most pastors I know are busy, very busy. Jesus saw all of the demand. He saw the plethora of hurting people. And he, of all people knew he had the means to help everyone of them. People were clamoring after him for his words, his prayers and his healing touch. I just don’t understand how, among all the people pulling on him and all the needs of the people, the people for whom he came to earth, I don’t see how he was able to sneak away for private time.

I called my mom the other day, just to catch up. During the conversation I asked if she had received the document she requested of me. She replied, no, she hadn’t. I was surprised she had not called me and asked if I had sent it. She said she figured with all that I have going on that I was just too busy to get to it. My response, “How sad!” This is the state our culture has come to. This has become the norm. And I think it is pathetic. I had sent the document, and I told her that I am never too busy to do something for her. Yeah, I’ve got stuff going on. We all do, but I also know something about priorities and profanities, and I am here to say that “busy” has become, to me, a profane vulgarity.

I saw a friend of mine from the YMCA recently and remarked that I had not seen her teaching any classes recently. She told me that she had scaled back on her schedule and that teaching Y classes was something she had to cut out. This woman works a full-time job and has a family. She began to feel that she had too many balls in the air, too many things on her plate, and was not able to give the priority items in her life the time and attention they deserve. I admire her for this. I believe in doing all things well. Some of us, many of us in fact, have taken on so much that we do nothing with excellence. I admire this woman for figuring out what is important, like Jesus did, and doing those things.

Jesus corrected Martha when she let herself be overwhelmed with the many “to do’s”. He pointed out that Mary was doing what was important, that she had her priorities right. Rather than running around trying to do everything, Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet fellowshipping and learning from him. Most of us are too busy to give Jesus time. We are Marthas and the worst part of it is that we are proud of it.

I hear people practically every day talking about how busy they are. Some people boast about it wearing their busyness as a badge of honor. Well, all I see is a scarlet B in the place of the scarlet A. I see an inability to prioritize and properly invest one’s time. And I have a reason to know about this. I was the worst of us all. I worked all of the time and do you know what I accomplished? My health declined significantly. I gained weight. My joints hurt all the time. All of my relationships suffered including the one with he whom I declare that I love most of all. Pshaw! If you love me, show me! People have a right to judge our fruit instead of our words. That is what Jesus told them to do. If you say you love someone, that they are important to you, then show them by spending time with them.

Busy can be a blessing. I am thankful I have things to do. I really am. I like being busy. It is exhilarating and makes me feel fully alive. However, it is also a curse. Societally it has become acceptable to be “busy.” Busy can be sin though, and every one of us needs to hear this. If you can’t manage your tasks and still have time for the priorities, then you really should consider adjusting your schedule. Do like my friend did and cut something out of your schedule. I hope what you cut out isn’t God, though, and honestly, just between you and me, He is usually the first one to suffer. “Oh, I have time for God,” we might say, but the truth is that your prayer time is in the shower and on the drive to work. Maybe you are going slack on your obligations at church. Maybe your social life is growing, and that is a blessing, but your most important priorities are suffering.

Only you and Father can do the kind of heart work needed to ascertain if you have lost your balance. If so, you can always have a do over. I always tell people, “Tomorrow is January 1st.” We can have a virtual January 1 anytime we need it. Today is a great day to readjust but if you don’t feel you’ve gotten it right today, then you have tomorrow and the next day. I don’t want you to be like I was and frankly, I don’t want to be like I was either. I learned a rather painful lesson. Now, if I should I let the tasks of my busy schedule overwhelm the priorities of my life, I very much hope, and expect, my Father to correct me. I remember my pastor’s brother, who is also and ordained minister, commenting that I must like how busy and overwhelmed I was. Well, he had a point. If there wasn’t something in it that gratified me, I wouldn’t have maintained that insane schedule.

Our busyness takes many forms but if you cannot be a person of your word then you might be too busy. If you frequently have to call off or reschedule plans with friends, then you might be too busy. If you hear the words, “I’m just so busy,” coming out of your mouth, then you might be too busy. I encourage you to look at the substance of your life. Are your friends and family suffering because you are “so busy”? Are you becoming unreliable or often unavailable? Take an inventory and ask yourself if you are doing yourself justice. Does your life need some calibration? Where are your priorities and are you doing them justice? Are you serving busyness instead of faithfulness?

These are all questions you can take to the Father. Ask him if you are responding to a brokenness inside you. He can heal those broken parts. Satan would love you to be so busy that you have no time for the Lord or His work. Satan wants you to damage your health and your relationships. Look very honestly at your life and be sure that you are staying within the refuge of your Father. Be honest with Father about where you are in your life and ask Him to help you readjust your schedule if need be. Don’t let busyness overwhelm your life but rather let the love and anointing of God care for you and for all the pieces of your life. Go to the wilderness and pray. Let Father speak into your life about all the demands on you.

Wonderful Counselor

Psalm 32: 8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

This is personal. It’s from God to you. He is telling you that He will give you personal counsel. That is why He says He will counsel you with His eye upon you. There is advice that is good for everyone and which applies to everyone. That is not what this verse is about. This is about giving you daily instruction in the way you should go. Our Father is offering to give you step by step instructions for your plans and your goals. The Passion Translation reads, “I will stay close to you, instructing and guiding you along the pathway for your life. I will advise you along the way and lead you forth with my eyes as your guide.” We can see from this version that Yahweh wants to be your partner. He wants to walk with you daily.

Here is the rub, though. How are you at hearing His voice? Okay, here is another question, if God is going to instruct and guide us along our specific life path, then why do we spend so much time worrying and thinking about the choices before us. Yahweh will tell us which choice leads to our goal. He knows what we want and how best to get there. Truly, I find myself thinking that we waste a lot of time thinking about things that are a waste. We could use that time to seek God and get the answers freely. We’re wasting too much time trying to do what God will do for us. This is one of the reasons we find ourselves so busy. We aren’t doing our job and we do not allow God to do His.

If we would dedicate ourselves to seeking God daily, I think we would all find that some of the complexity of life would be alleviated. Much of the drama would disappear and we would live in much greater peace and joy. We wouldn’t be so busy because our Father would show us the ways we should spend our time and He would show us how to proceed in the most timely way. Also, if we spent more time seeking Him and listening for His voice instead of running out the door we would learn to hear His voice better. Sometimes we don’t hear Him because we aren’t listening. Sometimes it is a result of having not spent time learning to hear Him. Either way, He speaks quietly and we must learn to listen in the quiet times of our life.

I have learned that we always have the time to do the things we want to do. For example, we don’t skip a lot of meals, we find the time for them. Our YMCA is packed in the wee hours of the morning. These folks have found time to get their workout in before work. Their dedication impresses me. Perhaps we need to have the same level of dedication towards our Lord.

However, if we truly do not have time to spend with our Father, then it may be that we have too many things on our plate. Sometimes wisdom says we have to eliminate something from our schedule. For myself, I find that I must be more efficient with the time I have. I need ponder time, time just to sit quietly with the Father and ruminate over the things He has been showing me. I cannot do that if I am busy running around all day. So, I try to coordinate my to do’s and errands so that I can get a couple of birds at a time. You may have developed strategies like that too. The bottom line is, our God is daily attempting to lead us in very specific ways that will benefit us. We must be able to hear Him, and we just have to spend time with Him. What good is a mentor or a coach if you never spend any time with them? Carve out some time, every day, to listen to the Father. Get out your pen and journal what He says to you. He is going to save you time and effort if you listen to Him.

Choked

Mark 4: 19

[A]nd the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Most people would probably say that they are not enjoying all of the victory in life that they would like. Jesus tells us here why some of their work is unfruitful. The Word is getting choked out. It is so easy to start out right where you need to be and then the next thing you know, something is spinning out of control. What happened? Usually it is one of the above. I would add one other item to the list.

Sometimes busyness is the thing that chokes out the Word. We get too tied up in the things of this world and with running around trying our very best to get everything done only to realize that we have neglected the most important thing.

Look, you have seen plenty of wealthy celebrities with their lives in complete shambles. They were deceived into thinking that wealth and fame would make them happy. Striving for the money and the toys has left us all empty. When our desire for the things of this world outweighs our desire for the things of God, it is inevitably going to go badly for us. And as children of the most high, we should know that we do not even have to pursue those things like the world does. We seek the Lord and he gives us the desires of our hearts including some toys and other things that enrich life.

If we do not want the Word to be unfruitful, then we must guard ourselves against getting our eyes on the things of this world, including our jobs and other activities to the detriment of having our attention stayed on God, His son, His spirit and His Word. If we keep our priorities in line and keep our desire fixed on the Lord, then all these other things will be added to us.

Targeted

2 Samuel 17: 2

And I will come upon him while he is weary and exhausted and will terrify him so that all the people who are with him will flee. Then I will strike down the king alone.

What does this have to do with our present day existence, you may ask. I have found this to be an instructive verse for daily life.

Many of us live in cultures that are rushed and hectic. That can pose a problem. First, it is hard to hear the leading of God when hurried and stressed. God speaks to our inner quiet. He does not shout into the chaos. That is why He told us to be still and experience Him as God (Psalm 46: 10).

The other issue, of course, is that our chaotic lifestyle paints bull’s eye targets on our foreheads and hearts. I noticed many years ago that when I was tired, weary and exhausted I was susceptible to attacks. If you don’t think your enemy is looking for opportunities to bother you, you are deceived. The enemy is always looking for someone he can devour (1 Peter 5:8). So, don’t volunteer to be his chow. When you are exhausted, you look like prey. And, you probably actually are. Your defenses go down.

The answer, of course, is to take time to rest your spirit, especially. Take that quiet walk with Jesus and let him give you the refreshing waters that he offered the Samaritan woman. Let him rejuvenate you in body, mind and spirit. He can restore you but only you can set the appointment with him. If “busy” is a word you use often to describe yourself, then you need a check-up from the neck up, as a friend of mine says. Change your priorities. Say no to some events or even to some people. Let’s be honest, as uncomfortable as that can be, we have none the less, grown very adept at saying “No,” to Christ. It makes me wonder, sometimes, why we call ourselves Christians since he seems to be rather low on our priority list. If you will put him back in first position, he will guide you in setting your priorities and he will give you strength for the things you need to do.

Please hear this with your heart. If you are too busy to slow down and spend some time with Jesus in the resting and restoration of your soul, then you are too busy, period. Shall we go so far as to say that busyness is a sin? I know it is a problem in my life and one I have to battle constantly. Sometimes I need to just kick back. Other times I have to get up an hour earlier so that I have time for things that need doing.

Don’t weary yourself with much doing and don’t train your children to do the same thing. Your spirit, your soul and your body need rest. Go to a yoga class, spend time sitting in your garden or take a walk along the water and pray. Make it a priority to care for your triune self. Guard against busyness and overworking yourself. Word hard when you work but then take time to allow Jesus to restore you. It is really important that you do. Otherwise, you become a target.

TV Bomb

Joshua 1: 8

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Joshua was about to take over the leadership of the nation of Israel from Moses. How would you like to follow in those footsteps? Yahweh God went to Joshua. This is the advice the Father gave him. If you were about to take over the leadership of an entire nation of people, the nation of God’s people, wouldn’t you expect the advice God gives will be the most critical piece of advice available. Perspective on the situation Joshua found himself in when God gave him this instruction gives great insight into its importance.

Should we expect God’s guidance to us to be any different? Of all the things God could tell us, this is the one bit of wisdom He chooses for us. Keep this Word in your mouth; meditate on it day and night. Well, one would easily conclude that to keep the Word on our lips constantly, we will have to read it and meditate on it continually. How else will we know enough of it? We have major impediments in modern life, though. Joshua didn’t have television or the internet. He didn’t have a video console or an electronic tablet. He didn’t run his kids to soccer practice or any of the many other distractions we have.

We are busy people, over busy really. Somehow we have to learn to control the chaos so that we do as Mary, Martha’s sister did, put first things first. If we don’t have time for prayer, mediation and time in the Word, then we are too busy. Most of us, I find, have time for TV and few of us miss many meals. If I had a red button that, when pressed, would blow up every television, I bet many of us would find more time for contemplation and our Bibles. There are just too many things demanding our attention and who doesn’t enjoy sitting in front of the TV to relax? Perhaps we could have our time with our beloved and then turn on the TV. I know that I am much more productive if I don’t turn it on. Once on, it is hard to pick up my book and read or to pray.

God gave Joshua the secret to success and prosperity. In truth, He has revealed this key to us as well. What do we have to do in order to find the time necessary to engage this all important principle? Each of us must decide for ourselves but I would suggest we each have that button which will disable the television, at least for a while. Push the button. Go ahead. You will find some time you didn’t have before. Here’s to your success and prosperity.

Rewarder

Hebrews 11: 6

He is a rewarder.

Who is a rewarder? God! Did you know that? So, what does He reward? Well, maybe He rewards our good works. Maybe rewards come from sowing good seed. Perhaps He rewards those who pray a lot. What do you think? For the answer let us again turn to the Amplified Version, “He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].” Do you want to know why some Christians are doing better than others when God is no respecter of persons? My guess is they are seekers.

Would you agree with me that our Western form of Christianity has lost some of its zeal? Most of us don’t earnestly seek the Father. We sit on a pew on Sundays, maybe. We say a few prayers through the week but let us be honest. We are busy people and most of us just don’t set aside the time to diligently seek God. I remember when I was first filled with the Spirit. Goodness, I became zealous. I studied my Bible and prayed. I got together with other Christians to seek God. We all wanted more of God and were never satisfied. We continually sought more of Him. I guess you would call that earnest diligence. We were on fire for God.

Now, I’m busy working for God. It seems my calendar is always full. I don’t sit in my chair hour upon hour reading my Bible but as I read this scripture and listen to the heart of God, I think, “There is nothing better to do with my time.” I will just have to make seeking Him an absolute priority. You know, it is easy to fill your calendar. I can always find plenty of things which vie for my time but I am choosing today to put aside those things so that I can earnestly and diligently seek the Lord.

Today’s date is June 13, 2017. Will you pull out your journal and write this date in it along with this same decision, to seek the Lord with sincere devotion? Will you join me? Let’s make a 30 day commitment together and see where we are thirty days from now. Let’s see how our lives change in just thirty days. Email me, reply to this email or post a message. Let me know you are running with me and let’s encourage one another in this adventure.

Busy is a Four Letter Word

Luke 5: 16

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

This topic just keeps popping back up. I think the reason is because we do lead very busy lives. Because of that, we have to carefully manage our lives. It seems to me that in simpler times this might not have been such a big issue but then when I think of Jesus I have to reconsider. Jesus was the busiest guy ever. He knew that he only had a short time in which to completely and radically change the world. He had a lot of work to do and just a short time to do it. Worse, he had to walk everywhere he went which took up a lot of his time. Still, he always managed to slip away to be with his Father. His ministry depended on that time with the Father. Could he have done the things he did if he didn’t go to the well himself and fill up?

I think this quiet time away must have been important because he taught his disciples this strategy. Look what he told them in Mark 6: 31, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.” The passage said that there were so many people coming to them and they were so busy that they didn’t even have time to eat. Well, if they were that busy and had that many demands on their time, how could they afford to go away by themselves? How could they afford the time off?

Jesus taught them by his example as well and through the recorded history of the Bible, he is teaching us this lesson today. We see him living his advice in Mark 6: 46 where it says, “And after bidding them farewell, He departed to the mountain to pray.” He led by example showing his disciples that if they were going to do anything great in life, they must prioritize their prayer time.

I have noticed that even ministers have this problem. We can get so busy doing the work of God that we forget that our time with Him is the most important. Everyone has deadlines. Everyone has pressure and stress. Yet some people learn how to get this piece into their schedule every day. Is it simply a matter of setting it as a priority? Maybe we don’t love God enough. Maybe we need to meditate on our feelings about God. The best thing is to do it for a period of time and see how much smoother life is.

We have worn our busyness like a badge for years. People brag about how busy they are. Well, I am a recovering busy person. Yes, I am still busy but I am being healed of the obsession of it. The excuses I used to use to justify my out of balance lifestyle just don’t work anymore. Now when I hear other people talking about how busy they are and how they just can’t do something, in the back of my mind I hear, “There is healing for that.” The solution to this problem may be different for different folks but ultimately I think we just have to do whatever is necessary to unburden our lives so that there is time for God in our daily schedule.

What do you think? Are you stressed and overburdened? Jesus said that he came to take our heavy burdens. When we walk with him daily, he takes the weight and makes our burden light. If you are really that busy, then you need Jesus. You need a whole bunch more of him than you are getting right now. Take some time. Honestly, you can find a moment if you are intentional about it. Go talk with Jesus and ask him to help you with your load. Make a deal with him that you will give him some of your tasks and you will spend time in prayer. I promise you will be glad if you do.